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Thread: Wilding Behavior?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2022
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    Default Wilding Behavior?

    Hi all!

    My 1 year old red who I’ve been overwintering has been acting…strange. Some behaviors definitely consistent with what I understand as wilding up (yay!), but there are other behaviors that I’m not sure are good/natural/healthy…

    So…Squeegee (the squirrel in question) did not wild at all last spring/summer. He just wanted to snuggle and play constantly. Always “oinking”, but never using other vocalizations of adult reds. This continued until yesterday.

    I was gone for 5 days and Squeegee was being cared for by my roommate (he helped nurse him and is very knowledgeable about his care, but has not really been super involved with Squeegee since he was a teeny baby. He always brings him his daily morning food, but doesn’t stick around to hang out with him). The roommate’s updates told me Squeegee was mildly temperamental, but only the usual amount he is around other people (including the roommate). Well I get home yesterday and go to see him in his room, and he is PISSED. He attacked any bare skin he could find including my face. He wasn’t biting me hard enough to break skin or anything, but he certainly scratched the absolute heck outta me. He was using angry vocalizations too. So, I assume he’s finally wilding up. Whoo-hoo, he gets to safely be his true self! But….

    Here’s the part that is worrying me. Could all be normal! I just don’t personally know. After yesterday, when that switch flipped, he apparently did not take the food brought by my roommate this morning, and my roommate said that he picked up two boo balls from yesterday uneaten and just laying on the ground. Squeegee usually takes the food directly out of your hand when you enter, but he wouldn’t even pay attention to it in his food bowl. Apparently he was attacking my roommate’s hands while he was holding the boo balls but was uninterested in actually eating them. I guess I assumed that wilding up would include an even higher food-drive, so when he was instead starting to ignore his food, I got worried that perhaps something else was wrong. I know some animals will get aggressive when they are in pain. I don’t think he has totally stopped eating, but it’s definitely odd to find boo balls from the previous feeding just laying discarded on the ground…

    Is this normal? Or could there perhaps be an underlying concern?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    East coast of Florida
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    Default Re: Wilding Behavior?

    I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about unless you notice lethargic behavior as well. He could just still be pissed. I have noticed with the gray squirrels (no reds here) I’ve released, that they do not eat as well once they are put in the release cage. They still eat, but leave a lot more food untouched. Observe Squeegee over the next few days and see how he does with his food consumption.

    Do you have a cage for your soft release? Plan on placing him in the release cage when the weather where you are begins to warm and there’s leaves on the trees. It will take a couple of weeks, maybe more, for him to adapt to the sights, sounds and smells of outdoors before you open the door for him.

  3. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Mel1959 from:

    Chirps (03-29-2023)

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